9 Things From Our Childhood That Are, Surprisingly, Still Around

by Stacy Graebner
Originally Published: 

Remember these? Garanimals is a clothing line which makes it easy for kids to mix and match their outfits on their own. Each item is tagged with an animal, so if you pair a “zebra” shirt with a pair of “zebra” pants, you’ll know they match. Brilliant concept. Although now that I’m a parent, I realize that if there is one group of humans who couldn’t care less about matching, it’s little kids. In fact, they go out of their way not to match. You know who needs Garanimals? Adults. Specifically, me. I’d be thrilled if I could match two hippo tags together and look like a million bucks. Michael Kors, are you listening?

2. L.L.Bean Original Bean Boots

These were very popular in the ’80s and were obviously designed for people who wanted the ugliness of a rubber boot without the protection of a rubber boot beyond the ankle. The original Bean boot is still available from L.L.Bean, but what’s interesting is that despite being around for decades, they still haven’t found a way to make them quickly. In fact, on their site they warn you that “due to an extremely limited supply” you should “order now so we can reserve a pair for you.” Then they will deliver them to you via horse and buggy. Allow eight to ten months for delivery.


3. Steak-umms

It’s truly umm-azing that these were so popular in the ’80s. Steak-umms were marketed as thinly sliced pieces of beef that can go from frozen to fully cooked in under 60 seconds. I’m no expert, but that seems to defy the laws of science. Although as a mom, a meal that cooks in under 60 seconds does sound appealing. I’m just worried that it might also pass through me in under 60 seconds.

Here’s a classic Steak-umm commercial from 1981 that is priceless:

Does anyone else find it suspicious that the mom isn’t even eating a Steak-umm? What does she know that we don’t know? She’s probably enjoying an iceburg lettuce salad instead (the kale of the ’80s). Maybe this product should be called “Steak-umm-gonna-be-sick.”

4. Underoos

Underoos were so much fun for kids in the ’80s, and guess what: For those of you who couldn’t get enough of being a closet superhero, they are now available in adult sizes. I must admit, these are kind of funny—from the waist up. From the waist down, the joke is on you, big guy. (No offense, Superman.)

5. ThighMaster

Not only is this product still on the market (with Suzanne Somers as the pitch person), the concept has been taken to a whole new level with the ThighMaster Vibrato. Yes, it vibrates. I’m sure there were lots of high-fives in the office when they came up with this clever tagline: “Just put it between your knees and squeeze.” (That’s what he said). The good news is, you can still purchase the original ThighMaster on eBay, just in case you are nostalgic and want your thighs to have that retro look. It’s no wonder this is still on the market—any exercise apparatus you can use while sitting on the toilet or lying in bed is genius. I’d even use it during the 60 seconds while I’m waiting for my Steak-umms to cook. (And then I’d use it again while sitting on the toilet 60 seconds later.)

6. Enya

Not only is Enya still around, she has almost two million Facebook fans. I’m not surprised by this; Enya’s music is like a narcotic. It’s impossible to feel pain when one of her songs is playing. In fact, they should pump her music into doctor’s offices during OB-GYN exams or prostate exams (“Sail away! Sail away! Sail away!”). She’s very inspirational too—I feel like I could write a book or complete an Ironman triathlon after listening to her. I actually heard Enya on my car radio the other day while driving to the grocery store, and the next thing I knew I was at the beach.

Enya – Sail Away by trapux

7. Swanson TV dinners

Growing up, I always looked forward to Friday nights when my parents would go out to dinner and leave us behind with a babysitter because it meant two things:

1. Love Boat and Fantasy Island

2. A dinner compartmentalized five ways on a tin tray

Swanson still makes frozen entrees, but without the glorious tin tray (damn you, microwaves!). There was something very satisfying about feeling your spoon scrape against the tin as you fought to dig out every morsel of crusty mashed potatoes. And the apple cobbler at the end? If you were lucky, you could pop out the entire (crunchy on the outside, abnormally gooey on the inside) square dessert at one time. My parents truly loved me.

8. Electric Blankets

Electric blankets are seriously awesome, and shockingly (no pun intended), still available for purchase. What a great feeling, tucking your kids into bed under a pile of cuddly wires. “If you get chilly, sweetie, just crank the heat up to 9. Oh, and don’t spill your water—that could end badly.” Electric blankets should come with the same directions you get when you purchase a Butterball turkey: Pre-heat blanket and then cook your child for 9 hours at 350 degrees.


9. Molly McButter

Sassy Molly McButter is still alive and kicking after all these years. In fact, she has over 10,000 Facebook fans which makes her the Kim Kardashian of butter flakes. Watch this video from 1988 and you’ll see why. (Warning: You will soon have the jingle from this commercial stuck in your head for the next 48 hours. I apologize in advance.)

Who knew butter flavored flakes could be so seductive? You go, Molly. The sad part is, the clueless guy singing the jingle seems to have no idea he’s being hit on. He seems so happy. I’d like to set him up with Enya. Maybe they could “sail away” together.

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